Principal, Carmel College
My primary school was St Austin’s in Grassendale and, having passed the 11+ exams, I then went to SFX in Woolton. I had always had a fascination for the natural world so in sixth form I opted for my favourite subjects: the sciences. I then went on to study zoology at the University of Manchester and obtained my PGCE at Manchester Polytechnic.
What’s the secret of your success:
I try to be clear about what we are trying to achieve, be calm in the face of problems and keep things as simple as possible. I am also a passionate believer that people matter. I am really lucky to have a tremendous team at the college and I believe that it is important to trust in their judgement, their commitment and to support them in their job.
What advice would you give to somebody starting out in education:
To students: Remember that you are as capable and have as much to offer as those from anywhere else! You will have challenges along the way but you can overcome them and achieve great things. Believe in yourself and with hard work you will achieve your potential. To new teachers: it is a real privilege to be a teacher. You have the opportunity to make a real difference to people’s lives. There will be challenges along the way but the rewards are tremendous.
What makes Carmel College different:
The teachers and support staff here are simply outstanding! They work tirelessly for our students. They are passionate, enthusiastic and really care about those we educate. We also have a huge range of different students here from a very wide area. Our largest cohort are our A-level and Advanced BTEC learners but we also have young people with learning difficulties who are studying pre level 1 courses. We have post A-level courses as well with students working on university degrees including medicine, dentistry and veterinary science.
Tell us about Carmel College plans for the next 12 months:
Sixth form education is facing some big changes with the introduction of linear specifications. Our big challenge is to make sure that these are introduced successfully. We are adapting our teaching and learning so that we prepare our young people for a different style of assessment. The college has a reputation for excellence and this year we were told that we had the best value added score of any sixth form college in the country: we aim to maintain that record!